We human beings ALWAYS have freedom to worship. What we do NOT always have is the freedom to worship… without persecution. When we speak of “religious freedom” we usually mean freedom for CHRISTIANS to worship AND participate in society without persecution. This was the reason Puritans fled England: they could worship… but not own property or engage in other “normal ” societal functions. They were out-casts and some were persecuted by not having a means to earn a living.
Historically, The LORD alone grants Christians from time to time, from era to era, from one country or another, the freedom to worship JESUS CHRIST without persecution. However, historically, it has never been a PERMANENT CONDITION or state of being for Christians.
Constantine was a famous example of a ruler who “gave” Christians the right to worship AND function in society without persecution. Different rulers throughout history in a variety of lands have been so appointed by The LORD to grant Christians the freedom to worship AND function normally in society.
This “appointment” has NOTHING TO DO with the ruler’s qualifications, but rather, it has to do with The LORD’S GOOD WILL ordaining a season for Christians to live without persecution. But, it is ONLY for a season.
We see this, for example, in Thomas Jefferson. He was a deist, at best. He made his own “Jefferson Bible” by cutting away the parts of the Holy Bible he found offensive. This included all things referring to the Divinity of JESUS CHRIST. [ See the Wikipedia article on “Jefferson Bible” for Mr. Jefferson’s horrendous views regarding Our LORD JESUS CHRIST.] Yet, The LORD used this apostate man to establish a statute for religious freedom which would benefit Christians, allowing them to function in society.
Mr. Jefferson, who did NOT honor The LORD JESUS CHRIST, was prominent in establishing “religious freedom” for all… precisely BECAUSE he was not a Christian and did not wish to live under religious rule: Let every man choose his own “god.”
Thus, when we give thanks for religious freedom of choice, let us keep in mind The ONE+ Who+ actually does this: giving His+ Followers a reprieve — for a season — so that we may function normally in society.
But keep in mind: the reprieve is ONLY for a season.
As soon as Christians assimilate into society so that the distinction between Christians and worldlings no longer exists, PERSECUTION COMES. The LORD Himself+ removes the “freedom” to be a Christian AND to function normally in society, at the same time. Oh yes, we will STILL have freedom to worship CHRIST JESUS… just like the strong and living Church does under persecution in North Korea. Man does not have in him the ability to force us to stop worshipping CHRIST. We simply will not have the freedom to function in society AND to serve CHRIST JESUS, as before. Thus, we will have to choose.
That is what PERSECUTION does for the church: it makes each person choose deeply and irrevocably to whom his allegiance lies: to the world or to CHRIST JESUS. We cannot have both.
Pastor Saeed Abedini made his choice. He paid dearly for it, but great will be his reward. He remained “the salt of the earth.”
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13
By Sister Judith Hannah – Going Deeper with Christ